Students are allowed one opportunity of appeal to the appropriate hearing officer or the University Board on Discipline. The decision of the hearing officer or University Board on Discipline is final. Unless indicated otherwise in the original decision letter, the typewritten appeal should be submitted via email or in person to the Director of Student Conduct in the Integrity Suite in Seton Court 4508A. Appeals may also be submitted through the Online Appeal Form. The appeal must be submitted within 2 business days of receipt of the decision letter and must be based upon one of the following grounds:
- The student alleges that their rights to a fair hearing were violated.
- New evidence: The student alleges that new evidence that was not available for the original hearing might impact the decision of responsibility or determination of sanction.
The following category may be used only for cases of suspension from the residence halls or suspension or expulsion from the University:
- Sanction is grossly disproportionate to the offense: the student alleges that the sanctions imposed are grossly disproportionate to the findings of responsibility for the violations of the Code. The burden is on the student to provide support for the asserted grounds for appeal in the appeal letter. Failure to follow the guidelines or to provide sufficient support for the allegations will result in the dismissal of the appeal without further proceedings.
The Director of Student Conduct will hear the appeal or determine the appropriate hearing officer, appeal panel, or the University Board on Discipline to hear the student’s appeal. The hearing officer, appeal panel, or the University Board on Discipline will review all information gathered at the hearing, any further evidence, and the reasons for appeal. The hearing officer or appeal board will then decide the appeal and meet with the student to share the results. Parents and attorneys are not permitted in the hearing room during the appeal process unless they are serving as the student’s chosen advisor in a sexual misconduct case.
The University Board on Discipline
The University Board on Discipline serves as the appeal board for serious cases involving suspension from the residence halls or suspension or expulsion from the University or other cases as designated by the Director of Student Conduct. The Board is comprised of one faculty member, one student, and one administrator; provided, however, that for appeals in sexual misconduct cases, the Board is comprised of at least one faculty member and up to two administrators.
Except in cases involving the discovery of new evidence, the Board may review the appeal based upon the hearing record and the decision and rationale of the hearing officer or conduct body in the initial hearing. In most circumstances, the Board will meet with the student who is making the appeal and the original hearing officer. At the request of the accused student, up to two character witnesses may submit written statements to the Office of Student Conduct at least one University business day in advance of the appeal hearing.
In the event that new information becomes known to the University after the original hearing and prior to the appeal, the original hearing officer will notify the student of the new information and give them the opportunity to respond. The original hearing officer/panel will issue (or re-issue) a decision letter taking into account the new information.
In cases where the student’s appeal is based on a claim of newly discovered evidence, the Board will first determine if the offered evidence was not known at the time of the original hearing. If the evidence is found to be newly discovered, then the Board will remand the case to the original hearing officer/panel for review. The original hearing officer/panel will issue a new decision letter taking into account the newly discovered evidence. (The new decision letter may affirm or modify the original findings and sanctions.) The student may then proceed with an appeal to the Board.
In cases where the student’s appeal is based on a claim that the sanctions imposed are grossly disproportionate to the findings of responsibility, the board may only affirm, reduce, or increase the sanctions assigned by the original hearing panel, and may not change the finding of responsibility.
The University reserves the right to have a modified board hear the appeal or have the Dean of Students or their designee hear the appeal when circumstances warrant it.
Possible Outcomes of the Appeal
The hearing officer or conduct body hearing the appeal can take the following actions:
- Affirm the original decision of the hearing officer or conduct body.
- Affirm the original decision of responsibility for some or all of the charges and change the sanction (sanction may be reduced or may be increased).
- Reverse the original decision of responsibility for some or all of the charges.